When you work in the hospitality industry, tips matter. Not only are you probably a shift worker, but you are also juggling many other things in your life like being a student, a parent, a friend, a caretaker, and a partner.
You know you’re not going to get rich off of your hourly wage – in the US for example, the federal minimum wage is $2.13 an hour. In most places, employers use this as the base wage for servers and other tip-based positions. That means that not only do you need to work as many hours as possible, but you also need to make sure those hours are during the best shifts possible so that you can rely on consistent tips. Before we dive into some ways to get better tips, let’s look at the root of bad tipping.
What causes bad tipping
Customers don’t want to tip
Many customers only tip the minimum amount because they feel compelled to do so by social pressure. People like this think that servers should not get paid extra to do what is already in their job descriptions. They can be difficult to convince otherwise. The people who leave bigger tips do so because they liked the wait staff. This means you’ll need to be friendly with your customers— but more on that later.
They’re having a bad day
If the customer has had a tough day at work or a fight with his or her spouse, they’re not thinking about you or the fact that you need tips to survive. Handling these types of customers can be tough. You’ll need to be really intuitive about how people are feeling and consider the best ways to approach them.
The service was bad
In some cases, mistakes are made in the kitchen, but as the customer-facing representative, the server is blamed. It is not uncommon for servers to receive low or no tips because of mistakes made by others. This is often why tips are shared communally in restaurants. When a mistake is made to the best thing you can do is explain to the customer what happened and make sure to expedite their order. Also, if you can offer them a complimentary drink or dessert that may help you salvage some of your tips.